Barend Jan de Jong [bjdejong]
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
You can find many of my pictures in the blog and portfolio on http://infocast.nl You can also find my portfolio on ModelMayhem (http://www.modelmayhem.com/2032392).
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
Oh, that is years ago. The bug got me somewhere around the mid seventies.
What has been your education as a photographer?
As a photographer I am autodidact. I have worked with all classic analogue formats ranging from 35mm to 4x5 inch. Currently I mostly work digital (full-frame).
Please list any exhibitions in which you have participated.
Please list any awards for your work.
What is your favourite type of photography?
I am mostly interested in the intersection between fashion, portraits and fine art nudes.
What do you try to express through your photography?
I hope to capture more about the essence of how women take the reins of men in the whole game of mate selection, all with the objective to learn more about life.
How do you choose your subjects?
My main theme is so dominant that I have little to worry about my subject. However, there is a lot of time spent on thinking about the actual concept, location and the model. It all has to fit together. How it works to get it all together in time for a photo shoot is still a miracle to me.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
Since my photoshoots involve locations and models, there is always quite some preparation to do. I consider it essential to have a good idea about the location and to have a mutual understanding with the model what the objective of the shoot is. With the model is an exercise of building trust, without trust .. no pictures.
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
I always start with some concepts. Having said this, I am absolutely open to the flow. The process with the model and location inform me on how to adjust the idea and process to get the best pictures possible.
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
First of all it is not about the camera.
I happen to use Canon, cheapest quality full-frame with quality lenses at the time, and a Leica when I travel. I consider full-frame as rather small since I fell in love with large format during the analogue days. Occasionally I still use a Wista for 4x5inch.
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
Again, it is not about the camera.
Having said this, I mainly use a Canon 5D mII with 24mm 1.4, Sigma 50mm 1.4, and a Sigma 90mm 1.4. My travel kit contains a Leica M9 with a range of Summicrons, i.e. 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm.
The key thing for the pictures is actually the light. I use studio strobes from Multiblitz, some Canon Speedlights triggered by pocketwizards, and in many cases just available light.
For post-processing I mainly use a Windows Vista 64x box.
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
The software I use to do most of my post-processing is Lightroom, Photoshop and Silver Efex.
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
I cannot disclose this.
However, I think that there are huge issues to be resolved around the concepts of Copyright and Privacy. The internet is a game changer.
Are you a good salesperson of your work? In what should you improve?
I am not a good sales person for my work. There is definitely room for improvement.
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
Actually that is a very long list. Key ones are of course: Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Helmut Newton, to name a few.
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
I think that the answer has to be yes, since it is not clear anymore what key characteristics differentiates the professionals from the amateurs. If it is about the training, or the ability to make a living out of photography? I do not know. Having said that, digital photography and the advance of technology have certainly contributed to this.
What is your team of habitual collaborators like?
I am totally on my own. Occasionally I work with a make-up artist to support with make-up and hair.
With which other photographers do you normally team up with or do sessions with?
I like to work on my own.
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
Neither, I just try to make beautiful pictures. It is all about getting everything in the right balance.
What have you learned about the art of framing and composition?
Composition is key. At the same time, i.e. during a shoot, it should come completely naturally. There is no time to "think" about it. You can improve by being critical to what you see, but at the time of the shoot, ie. with models, it needs to come to you naturally.
With regard to framing, I have a strong preference for squares and 4x5. 24x35mm is for me too long, it doesn't work for me well.
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
Practice, practice, practice and being harsh on your own failures.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
It is like with cooking. Certain dishes take time to get to the full flavour. Also, it is a different process. I find this kind of slow cooking still extremely good for portraits, fine art nudes and landscapes. But the key thing is that one needs time to do it right. (BTW, I occasionally only use B&W 4x5 inch for "slow cooking". It is a wonderfull process.)
Does photography have the recognition that it should have in contemporary art museums?
Yes, I guess it the right recognition these days.
Which websites for photographers do you frequently visit?
See for this the list on my site: http://infocast.nl/photographers/
Is there any particular technique that you could share?
Photography of people is about communication. The key thing is to communicate. The rest is easy.
Barend Jan de Jong
Rotterdam, The Netherlands